Want to help save the Amazon rainforest? Eat less meat. Here’s why.
If you’re like us, you’ve been stunned by the fiery images coming out of the Amazon rainforest this week. And basically floored by the fact that fires have been raging for quite some time and we didn’t know about it.
If you’d like a quick primer on why this is so scary, check out the video below.
Then read on for some fast facts on why we all need to take notice of this international crisis, and how we can each do our part to help prevent this from happening in the future. (Hint: eat less meat!)
Please help us spread the word on this. Our entire planet is at risk.
Why is the Amazon rainforest so important?
The trees of the rainforest are the “lungs of our planet”. That’s because they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and then release much of the oxygen we breathe.
So, these fires mean we’re reducing the amount of carbon being removed, and that will speed up climate change. What’s even worse, according to the Washington Post video above, is that the rainforest currently stores a decade worth of carbon. All of that gets released when the forest is on fire.
“It’s like taking everything out of your savings account and not putting it back.” – Andrew Freedman, Washington Post.
How did the fires start?
The Amazon’s dry season runs from August to October every year. It’s normal for there to be some fires during this period.
But this year’s different.
According to Brazil’s space research center, IPNE, fires have increased by 79 percent from the same period in 2018!
Even more troubling is that it’s rare for Amazon fires to have a natural cause. They’re most often started by humans. That’s where meat comes in.
Why would eating less meat help the rainforest?
In one word: deforestation.
Brazil’s current government is pro-development, so land is being cleared for industry – mostly loggers and ranchers removing trees to make room for raising cattle. In fact, Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef – providing close to 20 percent of total global beef exports.
Trees are being cleared at the rate of five football fields a minute.
Beef exports are expected to rise to meet increased demand. And increased demand only makes the problem worse because beef is responsible for 41 percent of livestock greenhouse gas emissions.
What can we do?
Well, eat less meat, to start.
A report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that changing our diets to include less meat could contribute 20 percent of the effort needed to reduce the rising of global temperatures.
A huge kudos to you if you’re already following a plant-based lifestyle! If not, please consider doing so, or even just reduce your meat consumption. Here’s a blog post with 5 tips to help you eat less meat. Every little bit helps and we’re here to support you.
You can also help by spreading the word on this issue. Share this blog post and others you see on social media.
The Guardian has also prepared a list of organizations to support, including:
Together we can be the change.
If you want to learn more about the fires in the Amazon, check out these helpful stories:
- Amazon Rainforest Here’s What’s Really Happening (The New York Times)
- Amazon fires: what is happening and is there anything we can do? (The Guardian)
- The Amazon in Brazil is on fire – how bad is it? (BBC)
- The Amazon is burning because the world eats so much meat (CNN)